“Freedom is never given – it is won” – A Philip Randolph


4th of July reminds me of our founding fathers who dared to do what hadn’t been done before.  Somehow they trusted what they believed to be right – a principal that obviously continues to grow and change.

Even when I mention words – attachment, change, holding- it raises quite a stir.   We don’t want to admit that maybe we are possibly stuck in a habit, so we put that off for later.  However when is the right time to focus on it?  With age does wisdom really come? I believe there is a fine line in learning, improving, changing, so we can break our habits.  Sometimes it is a good thing to have; such as describing to someone “I’m an American”.   Or having rituals, such as taking your vitamin, praying, showering etc.  We can examine and watch to see if we are holding onto something; is this keeping me from moving forward, being open or just letting go.

The ego is within all of us and often we let that first emotion or reaction take over.   When I was little I hated the idea of a cake or pie that wasn’t chocolate.  Later in life I was open to trying key lime pie and found I liked it a lot.  Imagine if I never tried it again and was stuck with the thought “I only like chocolate”.  I’m sure it will change again  after all, the point is that I’m always learning.   My feelings may be true – but not real (Tara Brach).

It is very hard in this day with so many celebrities showing us how they are and we compare- trying to be them.  Even in asana postures.  Somehow we believe there is the place in the future where we will be that and then we’ll be happy – just like those we admire.   However where and when is this place?  Does it really exist or are we always disappointed never reaching it?

This is the same with injuries.  How many of us live within being injured?  We are quick to define ourselves as “I can’t because…”.   Deep inside we keep telling ourselves that we can’t do something because of our bodies, color, nature or place the blame to someone else.  Instead of just loving yourself just as you are now, letting go of the hurt, anger and fear.  You are more than your injury.

I’m not saying that it is bad to watch others; it shows us that it is possible – just maybe not for me, today or this lifetime. Only you have that answer.  Just as those who made amazing inventions, we take that idea, adapt it and go to places we never thought of.  However it is without hate, anger or fear that I can send them love and be happy for them.

Here in DC it is common to prove yourself – questions we ask to see if the person we are talking too is important or beneficial enough to know.  Starts off with “I am” – fill in the blanks.  We do this in yoga as well though – so proud to say “I am Jiva”; “I am Ashtagna”; “I am”…  The point is that I am not that. I may practice a style; “I practice Jiva” or “I practice Ashtanga” but who I am is more than this and we need to give ourselves credit.  More than the words we associate as important; even Mother, Daughter, Catholic, Jew, Hindu, Black, White, Hispanic, Dr, Lawyer, Artist, Runner, Swimmer, etc.  Somehow we know this to be true as we utter the words yet know that underneath it all, there is more to you.

I believe when the Declaration of Independence was first suggested many told them they were crazy, out of their minds and why change the situation they had.  Why not play it safe?  Instead they knew that it was just the right thing to do; trusting their instincts.  The balance of tradition and breaking off to the road less traveled (R. Frost).

On this holiday I suggest we each stay true to that belief.   Celebrate your freedom!